Where do baby boomers hang out online

Generation baby boomers: Time to make room?


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Push off!

The baby boomers brought climate change, an unjust intergenerational contract and a broken Europe to the young. Time to make way

Actually, it has always been the same story lately that has been told at dinner together, while we, tired from long work days, devoured plates of spaghetti with tomato sauce and opened one cheap red wine after the other: The friends, all between 20 and mid-30 had sat on uncomfortable chairs in cold executive offices and, as is so often the case at the beginning of a new year, talked to each other. Her cheeks were red, her hands were clammy and her voice was an embarrassing octave higher than usual. They had listed what they had achieved in the past few months and what they wanted to do even better in the future. They tried not to forget to breathe. Sometimes one leg, sometimes the other crossed. It had been a one-goal game. In the end, one of these sentences had to be said at some point: "I need more money. More security. More perspective."

Their superiors had sat across from them. Beautiful, well-groomed people with gray hair and healthy complexions. They had smiled contentedly and nodded encouragingly. Just keep it up, they said and smiled a little wider. Probably, or so the friends suspected, because they were somehow touched by the commitment they received. It just didn't do any good. At the end of the conversation they still had to explain that the wishes made (superiors always spoke of wishes, never of demands) for the new year could unfortunately not be fulfilled. Austerity measures, limited resources, little planning security and so on. At the moment everything is not so easy. The friends just have to be a little patient.

Anyone can imagine how the rest of the evening hours after this story went. The friends scolded and hit the table top with their fists until the red wine glasses trembled. They described the precarious living and working conditions in which they lived despite their bachelor's or even master's degree, and listed the injustices that our generation experienced. My friend Clara, 33, said: "I did everything right, didn't I?" She studied history at the Free University of Berlin and the elite Yale University, completed countless internships in renowned historical museums and institutions, designed her own exhibitions in her spare time and successfully completed a traineeship. Nevertheless, it is only sufficient for fixed-term fee contracts. Sometimes she works on three projects at the same time. She hardly has any money. She doesn't remember when she was last really free, when she didn't have to do anything. After all, said Matthias, she would still be able to earn a living doing subjects that interest her. He is 29 and works in a call center three out of five days a week in order to be able to afford life as a freelance journalist and author. He has not yet given up hope of a job with a newspaper or a lump sum.

I already know what you might think now: Please not another millennial text, please! The whining of this spoiled, self-pitying Generation Y can no longer be heard. And of course, this whining annoys my friends and me too. That is why this text should be about the others: the generation of our parents, those beautiful, gray-haired negotiating partners. Time to change perspective.

Our parents are members of the "baby boomer" generation. You were born in the 1950s and 1960s into a world and a society that had to recover from a cruel world war and was slowly breathing again. Her parents were battered war children who only wanted peace, security and prosperity for their descendants. So they rolled up their sleeves, worked like crazy, and shoved what had happened far away into the back of their heads, just like you do when you want to believe in life again. What mattered was the future. And the great, unbelievable thing was: It worked. Some therefore describe these years as miracles. The pantries were finally full again, the playgrounds even fuller, the kitchens smelled of freshly baked cake from Dr. Oetker, there were cocktail bars next to the pastel-colored cocktail chairs, and Elvis Presley's "It's now or never" roared from the radios. And because no one wanted to be alone anymore and they wanted to share the happiness of this new era, the women had an average of 2.2 children, which ultimately led to 1.36 million children in the Federal Republic of Germany being born into the world in 1964 saw. More than ever before and never again since. The baby boom was mainly carried by the births in West Germany, but the rise in births was also present in the GDR in a weaker form. Today, those born in the 1950s and 1960s therefore make up 30 percent of the population.

Among these children were our parents and people like Angela Merkel, Martin Schulz, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Friedrich Merz. They were optimistic, eager little people. They were often the first in their families to graduate from high school. They listened attentively when the authorities told them that they could help this country to even more miracles if they continued to study diligently, completed higher education, attended universities and took up a profession that gave them not only ideal, but above all material wealth would give. And because, like all children, they wanted to make their parents proud, they followed the advice, got older, smarter and more self-confident, rose and nourished economic prosperity. The majority of baby boomers - this is the conclusion of a thesis paper from the K├Ârber Foundation from 2018 - got better from year to year. Their incomes and living standards rose, and the welfare state promised social security even in difficult times.

At least that applies to the average. People with a lower level of education also had a hard time among the baby boomers and benefited less from the economic upturn than their peers with university degrees. And of course there were also big gaps in the baby boomers in East Germany, who had to watch the GDR's economy collapse when they started their careers. Their employment histories show the greatest breaks and gaps. Big differences can also be found between men and women. The average annual salary of 50 to 60-year-old skilled workers in 2017 was around 57,000 euros. However, female skilled workers in this age group earn on average around 20,000 euros less than their male peers. The difference is even greater in management positions.

Nevertheless, the baby boomers were able to amass greater financial assets than the generations before and after them. You have saved a lot and have little debt. The prosperity of this country is due to them, their sheer size and their enormous determination.